The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Archive

Nicole Walls

Name: Nicole Walls, English Department

Presentation Title: "Composing Our Way to Linguistic Rights: From the United States in the United Nations"

Date: November 30, 2006


A recent accumulation of Writing Studies scholarship concentrating on language issues suggests the emergence of a new language movement. This movement shares many of the same concerns, questions, and actors as the "Students' Rights to Their Own Language" movement of the 1970s, but differs in both rationale and objective. My presentation will consider the ways in which the limitations of language rights account for these differences, as well as why contemporary scholarship has moved away from rights despite the proliferation of language rights discourse in the transnational context. Looking at the United Nations as a transnational organization with short, but lively history of language rights work, I will discuss how the shape and fate of UN language efforts can further explain how the field upholds a national ideal of monolingualism.